Category Archives: Regional

TAILS Humane Society joins #ILGiveBig

ILLINOIS—TAILS Humane Society has joined #ILGiveBig, a first of its kind effort in Illinois that will harness the collective power of charities, families, businesses and individuals—to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.

Coinciding with the Thanksgiving holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #ILGiveBig will inspire Illinois residents to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the causes they support, and help create a better world.

Scheduled for Dec. 2—the Tuesday after Thanksgiving—#ILGiveBig will harness the power of social media to create a state-wide movement around the holidays dedicated to giving—similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are today synonymous with holiday shopping.

Seeing an opportunity to take the national #GivingTuesday movement and channel the generous spirit of the holiday season to inspire action around charitable giving, a group of friends and partners, led by the Donors Forum, came together to find ways to promote and celebrate the great American tradition of giving in Illinois. In this first year of the campaign, the goal is to raise $12 million from 100,000 generous Illinois residents on Dec. 2.

TAILS Humane Society is a 501c3 non-profit organization serving DeKalb and surrounding counties. It provides a safe haven for animals in need by providing shelter and medical care for pets in need as we search for a forever home. TAILS also addresses the root cause of pet homelessness by offering low-cost spay/neuter services for pet owners. It strives to strengthen the human-animal bond in the belief that compassion for animals enriches the quality of life for all.

For more details about the #ILGiveBig campaign, visit For more details about TAILS Humane Society’s participation, visit

TAILS Humane Society is located at 2250 Barber Greene Road, DeKalb.


Let’s talk turkey Balancing family traditions and food safety

ST. CHARLES—As the holidays approach, special family meals take center stage, and with them come many family traditions of how to prepare and present those meals. However, some customs may contradict today’s food safety recommendations.

“Our food system, and what we know about food safety, has changed drastically in the last few decades, and that can contradict some more traditional methods of cooking the holiday feast,” said Laura Barr, Nutrition and Wellness educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties. “We hear much debate this time of year about how to thaw, prep and stuff a turkey. Too often, misconceptions of recommended practices can lead to people getting sick.”

The truth about thawing
Thawing a turkey is done in many ways, but not all methods are safe. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirms that a package of frozen meat or poultry left thawing on the counter for more than two hours is not ever at a safe temperature.

“There is no bacterial growth in a frozen turkey, and the danger zone for food is between 41 degrees F to 135 degrees F,” Barr said. “A product starts thawing from the outer layer first at room temperature. Therefore, the outer layer is in the danger zone for an unacceptable amount of time. It is unsafe to thaw any meat at room temperature, especially a large bird.”

Barr said there are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave oven.

The USDA advises to allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at 40 degrees F or below, and a fully thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator one to two days before cooking it. Be careful to contain juices from the thawing turkey so as not to cross-contaminate other foods and surfaces.

“It may seem simple, but this will take some planning,” Barr said. “For example, it will take at least three days for a 15-pound turkey to thaw in the refrigerator. Be sure to accurately schedule when to take out a frozen bird based on the cooking day.”

If thawing in cold tap water, water must be changed every 30 minutes until the product is completely thawed. Additionally, the product needs to be packaged in a waterproof container to prevent cross-contamination and an undesirable texture change in the meat, Barr said.

“The same 15-pound turkey would thaw in seven hours in cold water, versus three to four days in a refrigerator,” she said. “But the cold water method is more labor intensive, and you must always cook a cold-water-thawed turkey immediately.”

When using a microwave, the USDA advises to “follow microwave oven manufacturer’s instructions for defrosting a turkey.” It also recommends cooking the thawed product immediately because some areas of the food may be warm and susceptible to bacteria growth.

“However you choose to thaw, consider it a critical control point to ensure safety, taste and texture of your holiday meal,” Barr said.

The proper prep
In the past, families would start preparing their holiday birds much earlier in the food process. The bird was butchered, plucked, washed and cooked in the home, Barr said.

“Some consumers today wash poultry because the practice has been passed down through the generations,” she said. “However, running water in and over a turkey, or other poultry, is a waste of time, as it is cleaned in the packaging process.

“In fact, washing the bird at home actually increases the potential for food-borne illness, as it spreads salmonella and other pathogens in the sink and around the food preparation area. By cooking poultry thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, and maintaining that temperature for 15 seconds, you will destroy any bacteria.”

Stuffing safety
There still remains the controversy about cooking holiday birds with or without stuffing.

“In support of optimal safety and consistent doneness, cooking the stuffing separately is the recommendation,” Barr said. “Following tradition, some cook the stuffing and turkey together. However, the turkey will reach doneness before the stuffing inside the bird. In this case, a probe food thermometer is essential to ensure stuffing has reached the proper internal temperature.”

If it has not maintained that internal temperature of 165 degrees F for 15 seconds, Barr said to keep cooking the turkey together with the stuffing until it does. Otherwise, the undercooked stuffing may likely contaminate the cooked meat, she said.

Critical cooling
It also is critical to refrigerate Time and Temperature Control foods (TCS) quickly after serving the meal. This includes meats, stuffing, casseroles, cooked grains and vegetables and sliced fruit. The fastest bacterial growth occurs between 70 degrees F and 125 degrees F, which is close to room temperature, Barr said.

“So, if a TCS food sits out for two hours, it is best to toss it,” she explained. “As the saying goes, ‘When in doubt, throw it out.’ As bacteria multiply, so does the risk of food-borne illness. The less time TCS foods are in the danger zone, the safer the food for consumption.

“A good rule of thumb is to monitor time and temperature carefully to ensure food safety with each and every step.”

For more information on the University of Illinois Extension programs in your county, visit University of Illinois Extension provides educational programs and research-based information to help Illinois residents improve their quality of life, develop skills and solve problems.

Christmas Kettles to Kaneland area

KANELAND—Look for the familiar red Salvation Army kettles this November and December throughout the Kaneland/Big Rock area.

Conley Outreach (the local Salvation Army Service Extension representative) together with local Scout troops, businesses, 4-H clubs, church groups and Community Care Team volunteers will collect donations on Saturdays and the days just prior to Christmas outside various local businesses. The community needs your help.

Every year, Conley Outreach receives about $2,500 from the Salvation Army Metropolitan Division to help needy families pay for rent, heat, food, clothing or other necessities. Because of the current economic conditions, this money is depleted quickly. The Christmas Kettles enable Conley Outreach to raise additional money and replenish this fund. Approximately 90 percent of all the money donated in our area kettles will stay in our local Salvation Army fund.

All local kettles have a sign stating that the money will stay in the Kaneland/Big Rock area. This past year, the fund helped more than 100 of our neighbors. As winter approaches, many more will need help.

Consider making a donation when you are out shopping this month. Donations can also be sent to Conley Outreach/Salvation Army Fund, PO Box 931 Elburn IL 60119. If you have a group that would like to staff the kettles on a Saturday or Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 23-24, in either Sugar Grove or Elburn, contact Carol Alfrey at (630) 365-2880.

Holiday Spirit needs your help

KANELAND—Holiday Spirit, a joint program between Kaneland schools and Conley Outreach/West Towns, is in need of organizations, businesses, churches and other groups to adopt local families in need this holiday season. Last year, Holiday Spirit provided assistance to 132 children in 54 families through the generous donations from this community. It is anticipated that the need will be just as great this year.

Individuals or groups interested in adopting a family can contact Nicole Pryor, social worker at Kaneland John Shields Elementary School, at (630) 466-8500, ext. 108, or You may also contact Carol Alfrey, West Towns coordinator, at or by calling (630) 365-2880.

Monetary donations are also needed to purchase last-minute gifts and gas gift cards. Checks payable to Holiday Spirit can be sent c/o Conley Outreach, P.O. Box 931, Elburn IL 60119.

Veterans Day 2014 Salute Colors

Waubonsee hosts Veterans Day observance

Photo: Members of the Sugar Grove American Legion Post 1271 post the flags of the United States and of the Sugar Grove Legion Post, during a Veterans Day observance Tuesday at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove. Photo submitted by Jonathan Bilyk to

Honors WWII veteran Arthur Sheridan
SUGAR GROVE—Arthur Sheridan regrets not stepping forward sooner.

For decades, Sheridan, an Aurora resident and U.S. Army veteran of World War II, chose to live his life after returning home from combat in Europe in the 1940s, working his job and raising his family.

However, at the age of 80, he said, he was encouraged to get involved in his community and tell the tales of his service.

Sheridan’s story begins with his decision to enlist at 17 years old, and ends with a race across Europe as a member of the 20th Armored Division, culminating in the attack on Munich, Germany, and liberation of the infamous Dachau concentration camp.

Tuesday, Sheridan, who now serves on the Aurora Veterans Advisory Council, shared his story during keynote remarks of the Veterans Day observance ceremony at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.

While recounting his story, Sheridan also encouraged fellow veterans to engage in public service and encouraged those in the community to welcome veterans back into the fabric of civilian life on the homefront.

“Our veterans need advocates,” Sheridan said. “Not just so they can secure the benefits they should receive, but so we can all be remembered during our years.

“Every able-bodied veteran is ready, willing and equipped to serve his community,” Sheridan said.

The event also included parading of colors and a placement of a wreath by representatives of American Legion Post 1271 of Sugar Grove, a reading of President Obama’s Veterans Day Proclamation by Waubonsee President Dr. Christine Sobek, and performance of patriotic musical selections, including The Star-Spangled Banner, directed by Dr. Mark Lathan, Waubonsee assistant professor of Music.


Halloween fundraiser gets a visit from Hughes family

Photos: Guest of honor and former Sugar Grove library director Beverly Holmes-Hughes (above, left) converses with new Sugar Grove Library Director Shannon Halikias of Naperville, Ill. Photos by Lynn Logan

Halloween fundraiser gets a visit from Hughes family
SUGAR GROVE—Along with unexpected donations and more volunteers than they knew what to do with, organizers of a Halloween fundraiser on Saturday got a visit from the beneficiary herself: Beverly Holmes Hughes.

The event, organized by Sugar Grove resident Debbie DeBoer and her family, gave kids one last chance to wear their Halloween costumes while playing games to win prizes. The single fee of $10 per child benefited Hughes’ ongoing battle with brain cancer.

“It was a crazy, busy day,” DeBoer said of the fundraiser event. “We were a little overwhelmed at first, getting everything set up.”

DeBoer said Harter Middle School teacher/coach Adam Wickness had promised 15 of his Kaneland basketball players as volunteers, but arrived with 20.

“We had about 45 children (attend), and we did really well on the raffles,” DeBoer said. “We had people without children show up with donations.”

DeBoer was delighted when one boy told her it was “way more fun” than another recent school fun fair.

“And then his friend piped up and said, ‘Way, way more fun,’” DeBoer said.

She was thrilled, also, that Hughes attended with her family to play the games and thank the volunteers.

“She (Hughes) tells me all the time she can’t believe how kind people are,” said Pat Graceffa, Sugar Grove Library Board trustee and longtime friend of Hughes’. “She looked good, and she was just thrilled. Beverly is one of the smartest people I know, but she isn’t obvious about it. She helps you figure things out, and you don’t realize until later that she’s the one who figured it out and let you believe you did it.”

Graceffa expressed her gratitude to the DeBoer family for organizing and running the event.

“It was really well-thought out. They had plans for everything,” Graceffa said. “And the kids got so excited over the small gifts they won.”

Graceffa also had a few nice words for the teen volunteers.

“The Kaneland basketball players were just terrific. They were so patient with the kids and even if the kids didn’t win, they made sure they did win,” Graceffa said with a laugh.

All proceeds from the event were deposited into the “Beverly’s Battle with Brain Cancer” fund at Castle Bank. Further donations to the fund are welcome, as well.


Elburn’s Fire District remains intact

Photo: Fox River Fire/Rescue Chief Greg Benson (right) speaks to those in attendance at an informational meeting on Oct. 29 at Fox River Station No. 1 in Wasco. The purpose of the meeting was to provide information to residents, like Vince Kelley (below), who live in the petition area regarding the Referendum to Disconnect and Transfer to Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District. Representatives from the Elburn Fire Protection District were also in attendance at the meeting. The referendum question appeared on Tuesday’s General Election ballot, and failed by a vote of 1,292-443. Photos by Lynn Logan

ELBURN—The boundaries of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District will remain intact after residents on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted to reject a fire district disconnection question on the General Election ballot.

Approximately 60 percent of the 2,919 registered voters in the affected area made it to the polls, with 74 percent of those voting to stay with the Elburn Fire District, according to unofficial results on the Kane County election website.

“The turnout was amazing,” Elburn Fire Chief Kelly Callaghan said on Wednesday. “I’m glad the voters got a chance to speak out, and I’m glad they decided to keep the department that has been providing them quality service for many years.”
Callaghan went on to say that he was sorry that all the taxpayers in the area had to be burdened with all the mailers and meetings over the past several months.

“I’m sorry they had to go through all of this,” Callaghan said. “I don’t think this ever should have happened.”

The referendum question asked if the territory bound by LaFox Road to the east, Anderson Road to the west, Campton Hills Road to the south and Empire Road to the north should be disconnected from the Elburn Fire District to join the Fox River Fire/Rescue District. The question was placed on the ballot after 128 of the residents in the affected area signed a petition last summer requesting the disconnection.

The matter went before a Kane County judge, who determined that the question should be put to the voters during the General Election.

“I’m glad they decided to keep us,” Callaghan said.

Elburn Village President Dave Anderson said the outcome was positive for the Elburn Fire District, as well as for the majority of people within the affected area who were caught off-guard. He said he was glad that so many people showed up to vote.

“This is the kind of election you want,” he said. “You don’t want 18 percent of the voters making decisions for the 100 percent.”

A call to the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District went unreturned as of press time.


Kaneland grad publishes sequel to ‘The Reporter’

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill.—Pete Gallanis’ second book didn’t take long to write, but there’s a good reason for that.

The two books were originally one.

“I wrote ‘The Reporter’ as one book, but the publisher said it was too long, so I just divided it into two books,” Gallanis said.

Gallanis, a 1980 Kaneland High School graduate, said “The Reporter: Book II – Redemption” is now available for purchase.

The second book, dedicated to his wife, Chris, follows the continuing saga of reporter Nic Pappas, now a professor with a doctorate. Admittedly not a reader, Chris said with a laugh that she’s waiting for the movie.

Like most authors of fiction, Gallanis weaves fact and fiction, basing “The Reporter” loosely on the 1993 Brown’s Chicken Massacre in Palatine, Ill.

Ten years have passed since the end of book one, and Pappas reunites with Mary Jane Santos, who has acquired through Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act what he never could: access to the full Brown’s Chicken case file. The pair assembles an investigative team and launches a nationwide manhunt to track down the killers.

Gallanis said that a percentage of the sales from all works bearing “The Reporter” name will be donated to the National Compassion Fund in memory of all affected by the Brown’s Chicken Massacre.

The fund, a program of the National Center for Victims of Crime, is a registered 501(c)(3) charity that accepts donations and gives directly to victims and families of those affected by mass, violent crimes such as the mass shootings at Sandy Hook, Columbine High School, Fort Hood and Northern Illinois University.

While touting the second book in the series, Gallanis is also working on a prequel focusing on his protagonist, Nic Pappas, as a high school student at the fictional Kane County High School, loosely resembling Kaneland High School.


At the book signing for the first entry in the series, Gallanis conducted a raffle for a chance to be a character in the prequel. The raffle was won by Sugar Grove resident and fellow 1980 Kaneland graduate, Denise Kuzlick Feltes.

Gallanis said the prequel is being written so that it complements the first two books, or it can stand alone.

Published by Abuzz Press in Bradenton, Fla., “The Reporter: Part II – Redemption” soon will be available in paperback, on Kindle and from It’s currently available at and

Gallanis can be found on Facebook, where he also has created a page for the fictional Palatine Star newspaper.

Fire District disconnection issue heats up

ELBURN—Signs for and against disconnection from the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District can be seen throughout the area, especially in the territory where residents will soon make that choice.

Last summer, 128 residents from the area, bordered by LaFox Road to the east, Anderson Road to the west, Campton Hills Road to the south and Empire Road to the north, signed a petition to disconnect from the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District (ECFPD) and to join the Fox River and Countryside Fire Rescue District.

The petition ended up in court, where a Kane County judge determined that the question should be put to the voters. Approximately 3,000 residents live in the area that would be affected.

Representatives from the ECFPD have been meeting with homeowners associations to inform residents of the possible disconnection and what it would mean for them.

They are also planning a walk-a-thon for this weekend, in which they will go door-to-door to talk to residents about the issues.

“A lot of people don’t know (about the possible disconnection),” ECFPD Lieutenant Lisa Schopp said.

Schopp, in her role within the Fire District Association, is coordinating the effort to get the word out.

“We want to inform them about the election, so they can make an informed decision,” she said. “Hopefully, they’ll go out and vote.”

According to Fox River Fire Chief Greg Benson, the Fox River District went operational on May 1, 2011, with its first station located on Route 64 in Wasco. Prior to then, residents had been served by the St. Charles Fire Department.

With the Fox River station positioned on the border between the Fox River and Elburn districts, Benson said that residents in the surrounding area have had questions about their fire service since the station opened.


DSC_1450 Benson said that residents were concerned about response times, and they wanted to know why Elburn was responding to their emergency when they could see the Fox River station from their house.

He said that in early May, when the tax bills came out, people also had questions about the differences in the tax rates between the two districts. Elburn’s tax rate is $0.786 and Fox River’s is $0.266. For a $288,430 home on Farm View Road, this meant a tax bill of $708 in Elburn’s district, as opposed to $240 had it been in Fox River’s district—a difference of $468 for this year.

The Elburn district has since opened a third station at 5N276 Wooley Road in Lily Lake, which Elburn Fire Chief Kelly Callaghan said will provide shorter response times to those residents in the northern quadrant of the district. The station went operational on Oct. 1.

According to Callaghan, the district had been looking for several years to purchase property in that area when this location became available for rent.

Callaghan also said that, although Elburn’s tax rates are higher than Fox River’s, Fox River has a significant amount of debt, while Elburn operates with no debt.

Elburn village trustee Bill Grabarek said that through careful management of its money, the ECFPD was able to pay for its new station on Route 38 without borrowing money.

“I applaud them for that,” Grabarek said.

Fox River District does have $4.4 million in debt, which Benson said is in general obligation bonds, payable over the next 10 to 18 years. He said the money was used to acquire facilities and equipment.

Although Elburn has raised the concern that Fox River will raise its rates in order to pay off its debt, Benson said that the district can’t raise its rates by more than 5 percent or the consumer price index without voters’ approval through a referendum.

Benson responded to Elburn raising concerns about Fox River’s debt with a question of his own.

“Why do they (Elburn) have $13 million in the bank?” he asked.

There was also a concern raised by one of the Elburn Herald’s readers regarding the Fox River District being delinquent in its property taxes. This turned out to be in error, as governmental bodies are exempt from paying property taxes. The district had not yet completed the paperwork to obtain that exemption when the delinquency notice was published.

Elburn’s signs refer to additional fees that Fox River would charge residents for service. Although both districts charge for ambulance services, Elburn representatives have pointed to an ordinance on Fox River’s website showing fees that the district could charge for fire services.

Although the wording of the ordinance is confusing, Benson said that those fees listed for fire trucks and other services would only be charged in very specific situations, such as in the case of arson or a hazardous material spill.

“We don’t levy fees for fire alarm response (fire alarms in homes or businesses) or structural fire responses (home fires),” Benson said.

Since the disconnection was proposed, both Elburn and the Fox River Fire districts have made and disputed claims about one other.

“This whole thing has become political and emotional,” Benson said. “It has taken away from the idea of what the fire service is supposed to be.”

Both districts have stated that the safety of their residents is the top priority.

Benson said that his firefighters are well-trained and educated in all the latest industry knowledge.

Elburn’s Fire District Board President Tom Reynolds emphasizes the history that Elburn has in the area.

“The Elburn district has served the area well for 132 years,” he said. “We have more experience and we have better equipment.”

Grabarek also mentioned the history the Elburn fire district has with its residents. Grabarek himself had a heart attack four years ago, and he said he was grateful for the quality of their service.

“They kept me alive and they got me to the hospital,” he said.

Appreciative of the quality of their service and the careful fiscal management of the district, Grabarek said their “care, quality and viability depends on tax dollars.”

If the disconnection goes through, the Elburn district stands to lose about $1.1 million in revenue. Grabarek said he is concerned that this loss in revenue “could negatively impact the health, welfare and safety of our residents.”

Voters in the territory slotted for possible disconnection will be asked for their answer to this question on Nov. 4. A ‘yes’ vote is a vote to disconnect from Elburn and join the Fox River district; a ‘no’ vote is a vote to stay with the Elburn district.


Youth sports to benefit from Forest Preserve purchase

BLACKBERRY TWP.—Thanks to the Kane County Forest Preserve, Elburn and Kaneland community sports teams will have an expanded field for softball and baseball, soccer, football and lacrosse.

Kane County Board District 18 Representative Drew Frasz attended last week’s Blackberry Township meeting to announce the purchase. The land, originally owned by the Gum family, was sold to the Forest Preserve by Donald Westlake, who was married to Helen Gum Westlake until her death in 2012.

The 62 acres is located on Bateman Road, south of and adjacent to McNair Field, where Elburn’s Youth Baseball and Softball team has played for years. The Forest Preserve paid $10,000 an acre for the land, for a total of approximately $620,000. The closing on the property took place Sept. 30.

The Forest Preserve will enter into an intergovernmental agreement with Blackberry Township, which will coordinate the development and construction of the field with the leagues.

The township has for some time carried an annual line item of $10,000 in its budget for youth sports, Blackberry Township Supervisor Fred Dornback said. He said the township would coordinate the use of the space, and will grade and seed the site, as well as providing rudimentary roads and parking areas.

Then it would be up to the youth sports groups to develop and maintain the fields, he said.

“We won’t be spending any new tax money,” Dornback said. “We’re in the facilitating business.”

Frasz said that he saw a lot of opportunities for people to donate their talent and time. He said the Forest Preserve sees this as a “citizen-led effort.”

The township will apply for an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. If it receives the grant money, those funds, together with local fundraising and individual and company donations, will be used to make the necessary improvements.

One of the Forest Preserve’s requirements will be for portions of the property restored to prairie, with walking trails and benches for anyone to use. In addition, Dornback said one of the wishes of the township, going back to when Dave Anderson was the supervisor, is to have a common area where a family can get together to play volleyball, or kids can play pick-up games.

“When I was a kid, that’s how we did it,” Dornback said.

McNair Field had been leased by Blackberry Township from the Transmission Relay Corporation since it purchased the land in 2003. The lease had granted the local athletic leagues the use of five of the corporation’s 20 acres, located south and east of the intersection of Bateman and Rowe roads. The 10-year lease expired in April 2013.

Although the township negotiated a new lease with the owners, it was a short-term agreement.

“This will take away the fear of losing the land,” Frasz said. “It gives more long-term stability.”

Click to view larger map
Click to view larger map

Former pastor’s wife charged with attempted murder

MONTGOMERY—Pamela J. Christensen, 47, of Montgomery, has been charged with six counts of attempted first degree murder, three counts of aggravated battery and three counts of aggravated unlawful restraint, stemming from an incident that took place in late September.

A Montgomery Police press release states that police responded to a home in the 2300 block of Patron Lane on Sept. 25 after receiving two 911 hang-up calls. According to police, responding officers determined that Christensen tried to poison her three daughters, ages 12, 16 and 19, with a mixture of household chemicals. The daughters reportedly refused to drink the poison.

The press release also states that Christensen stabbed two of her daughters. All three daughters were transported to Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora, where they were treated and released to a grandparent.

Christensen was transported to Presence Mercy Medical Center in Aurora for self-inflicted stab wounds.

Christensen is the estranged wife of Vaughn Christensen, who is the former pastor of the Heritage of Faith Church in Sugar Grove. The church’s website is currently unavailable; calls to the church’s phone number went unreturned.

According to Montgomery Police, Pamela said she was sending the girls “home to meet Jesus Christ” because she had received text messages from her estranged husband stating that the world was ending and she needed to prepare the family to meet Jesus.

Just a month prior to the Sept. 25 incident, Pamela served Vaughn with a restraining order, stating that he had become increasingly violent toward her and their children.

Filed on Aug. 29 in Kendall County, the order stated that Vaughn had threatened to harm himself and the children. Police confirmed they had responded to the home several times.

The couple filed for divorce on Sept. 10 in DuPage County.

Pamela on Oct. 8 was released from the hospital to the custody of Montgomery Police and transported to Kendall County Adult Corrections.

Pamela appeared during bond call on Oct. 9 and was held on $1 million bond. She is scheduled to appear in court for arraignment on Oct. 16. During that court date, the judge will explain to Pamela the charges against her, and her rights.


Dancers against cancer

Photo: Dreams Dance Academy in La Fox this month will offer a cancer fundraiser raffle to coincide with October’s standing as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All academy visitors are invited to purchase raffle tickets for one of several gift baskets available, donate loose change in the school’s collection jar, and recognize loved ones affected by cancer on the pink ribbon wall.
Photo submitted by Jenny O’Brien to

La Fox dance company holds cancer fundraiser
LA FOX—Students and staff at Dreams Dance Academy give back to the community on a regular basis, but October’s give-back is near and dear to Jenny O’Brien’s heart.

The dance school owner and director has been touched by cancer twice, and she believes most people have been at some time.

“My mother Geralyn was diagnosed with breast cancer about 16 years ago, and then again in January of 2013,” Jenny said. “She’s doing great now.”

But because Jenny knows the difficulties of the battle against cancer, she was thrilled when three of the dance moms suggested a cancer-related fundraising raffle during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Through the entire month, Jenny is inviting all visitors to the dance school to purchase raffle tickets for one of several gift baskets, to drop their loose change in a collection jar at the front desk, and to recognize loved ones affected by cancer on the pink ribbon wall.

“All these things are open to the public; they aren’t just for my students and their families,” Jenny said.

All proceeds will be donated to the Living Well Cancer Research Center in Geneva, where Geralyn, an esthetician, runs the skincare program, providing facials and advice, as well as training others.

“Stress shows up first on your face,” Geralyn said. “We try to simplify what patients are using during treatment, and then work with them after treatment to repair and restore the skin.”

She said the center is a great resource providing body, mind and spirit support for patients and caregivers alike.

“A lot of doctors are now connected with the center, but it doesn’t look like a hospital or a medical facility,” Geralyn said.

Because she and her dancers give back to the community, Jenny is hoping the community will help Dreams Dance Academy win a $150,000 grant from the Chase Mission Main Street Grant program. She said only about 45 more votes are needed to move to the next level of competition.

“This grant would help me create my dream facility for my quickly growing studio, and be able to do more giving back to the community,” Jenny said.

To vote for Dreams Dance Academy, visit, and click the link on the home page just under the words in the news. More information on the fundraiser and classes can be found on the website as well, or you can call (630) 262-5051.

Community plans fundraiser event for Holmes Hughes

SUGAR GROVE—Friends of Beverly Holmes Hughes, Sugar Grove’s former library director, will host a Halloween “Fund-Fair” on Nov. 2 to raise money for the Hughes family.

The event is one more opportunity for children to don their Halloween costumes and have some fun. It’s also an opportunity for community members to help raise money for Hughes, who was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain tumor, in May 2014.

Hughes, who was named Sugar Grove’s Citizen of the Year in 2010 for her extensive contributions to the community, will receive chemotherapy for the rest of her life.

Though the tumor has stripped her of her ability to walk, and the chemo leaves her exhausted, she is continuing to work as DeVry University’s director of Library Services in Addison, Ill., because she is the sole support for seven people: her husband, Chuck, who has congestive heart failure; her sister Janet, who has diabetes; and several special-needs children the three have adopted and co-parented—four of whom are still living at home.

The fundraising event, which will be held at the Sugar Grove Community House from 1-3 p.m., features a variety of Halloween games and crafts designed for children 10 and under.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to come together in the community,” event organizer Debbie DeBoer said. “The kids are going to have a great time, and we’re doing something for a great cause. Everything we raise is going straight to Bev.”

For a $10 entry fee, children can play as many games as they like, and win or lose, each child collects a prize at each game. The games are designed so that children as young as age 1 can participate, DeBoer said.

The DeBoer family is providing all of the games and prizes, and Sugar Grove Library trustee Pat Graceffa has rented the space at the Community Center, so 100 percent of all proceeds will go directly to the Hughes family.

Activities include balloon darts, a duck pond, guessing games based on touch, a zombie toss, a shooting game, skeleton bowling, a spider ring-toss, and a milk pin throw. Klicks by Katee, a Kaneville photography business run by Katee Werrline, has also donated a photo booth where children and families can take unlimited free photos of themselves for the first two hours of the event.

DeBoer is hoping that at least 200 children will turn out for the fundraiser, but the Community Center can hold up to 600, so she’s buying more prizes just to be sure.

“They win a prize for each game they play, and when they win something, it’s very fun and motivating,” DeBoer said. “They win stretchy skeletons at one game, a sheet of stickers at another, a spider ring at another. It’s fun collecting the prizes, and they want to get them all.”

Like many who know Hughes, DeBoer first met her through the library, where DeBoer volunteered in the used bookstore.

“(Beverly) lives life the way I wish I could. She just takes care of so many people—she’s taken in those children; she takes care of the community. How can you not help her? Knowing what she’s done for the community, I couldn’t turn my back to this,” DeBoer said. “To me, she’s an important person in our community, and as I like to teach my sons, if we can make a little bit of difference and make one month less stressful for this family, we should.”

An ongoing fundraiser, “Beverly’s Battle Against Brain Cancer,” is continuing to collect funds to help the Hughes family through an account at Castle Bank. Monetary donations can be made to the Beverly Holmes Hughes Fund at any Castle Bank location, including the local branch at 36 E. Galena Blvd. in Sugar Grove.

Sugar Grove trustee Mari Johnson is urging community members to donate to the Hughes fund.

“Why do you donate to anything?” Johnson asked. “Because you feel an affiliation or an affinity toward that cause. Personally, I’ve known Beverly for over 20 years, and I think that through what she did at the library, all those years, she touched a lot of people’s lives.”

DeBoer was one of those people Hughes touched through her work at the library.

“I just really enjoyed taking my boys (to the library) and teaching them about literature and books, and (Beverly) tried so hard when we had the (old) little library, and she tried so hard to get the new building up and running,” DeBoer said. “I just appreciate her efforts.”

Donations of money, gift cards for groceries and gas, disinfecting supplies, clothes and school supplies for the family’s four children, and other items can be dropped off at the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce Office, 141 Main St., on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.; at 923 Spruce St., Sugar Grove; at 1916 Annettes Circle, Sugar Grove; or at 865 Boyce Road, Sugar Grove.

For updates and more information, follow the Beverly’s Battle Against Brain Cancer page on Facebook.

Elburn passes resolution opposing Fire District disconnection

Fox River Fire District reps attend meeting to object
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday passed a resolution opposing the disconnection of a portion of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District (ECFPD), despite objection from Fox River and Countryside Fire Rescue District representatives in attendance.

A referendum question that asks whether the territory in question should be annexed into the Fox River Fire District will come before voters in the proposed disconnection area on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot.

Fox River District Board President Jim Gaffney and Fire Chief Greg Benson, along with attorney Ken Shepro, attended the Village Board meeting to protest board approval of the resolution.

Shepro told the Village Board that a governmental body should not expend funds on any public question. According to Shepro, the board’s passage of the resolution amounts to the board attempting to influence citizens to vote against the referendum.

“Clearly the purpose of this resolution is to influence the outcome of the referendum,” Shepro said. “Otherwise, why would you pass it?”

Village President Dave Anderson said that people will read the resolution and form their own opinion on the issue. He said that the resolution simply states that the board opposes the de-annexation, that it doesn’t get into politics and it doesn’t urge voters to vote in a particular way.

According to Gaffney, a group of citizens from the area in question, which is bound by LaFox Road to the east, Anderson Road to the west, Campton Hills Road to the south and Empire Road to the north, came to them saying that they weren’t comfortable with the service they were getting from the Elburn department. In response, he said, district officials helped them with a petition to detach themselves from the ECFPD.

The petition was signed by 128 residents in the area this summer, and a Kane County judge determined that the question should be put to the voters. Approximately 3,000 residents live in the area that would be affected.

Gaffney said the Fox River District can provide the same services to these residents, and at a lower rate. He said he thought the board was doing its residents a disservice by telling them to spend more money than necessary for fire protection services.

Elburn Fire Chief Kelly Callaghan attended a Village Board meeting last month to let village trustees know about the situation and to ask for their endorsement.

Callaghan told the board that the disconnection would mean a significant loss of revenue for the Elburn Fire District—the area in question is 10 percent of its square miles and 21 percent of its assessed value. The Elburn Fire District’s expenses would stay the same, and Callaghan said the disconnection would place a financial hardship on the district.

After listening to Fox River officials’ objections on Monday, village trustee Bill Grabarek said that he thought the disconnection could diminish Elburn’s ability to fulfill its obligations to protect the health, safety and welfare of Elburn residents. He asked that wording to that effect be added to the resolution.

The board then unanimously voted to approve the resolution. Trustees Ethan Hastert and Ken Anderson were absent, but Dave Anderson said they had participated in the decision to create such a resolution.

The Elburn Fire District is in the process of building a new station at Route 38 and Anderson Road. The district also opened a temporary station in the Lily Lake area on Oct. 1, while it continues to look for property for a permanent spot. Elburn Fire District officials say the Lily Lake station will allow them to respond more quickly to residents in that area.


‘Purple Store’ collecting funds, goods for Hughes

KANEVILLE—Hill’s Country Store, aka the “Purple Store,” in Kaneville, is currently collecting funds and goods for Beverly Holmes Hughes and her family.

Hughes was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain tumor, last summer.

Hill’s Country Store owner Pat Hill knows Beverly personally and wants to help her and her family during this time.

Hughes is the sole financial support for seven people in her home: her husband, Chuck, who has congestive heart failure; her sister, Janet, who has diabetes; and several special-needs children the three have adopted and co-parented—four of whom are still minors living at home.

“I knew Beverly a long time ago,” Hill said. “I want to try and help her out and bring her a meal. I hope that people give from their heart. You never know when you’ll be in that situation.”

The donation box at Hill’s Country Store is an ongoing collection where people can donate a monetary gift in any amount, along with gas cards and gift cards. Hill also hopes to soon receive information about coordinating meals for Beverly and her family.

Photo by Lynn Logan

Elburn welcomes Station No. 3

The Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District on Wednesday opened it’s Fire Station No. 3 in Lily Lake. The station is functional 24 hours a day and features an advanced life support (ALS) engine, which means the station is equipped to handle both fire emergencies and medical needs. According to the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District, the presence of Fire Station No. 3 will reduce rescue response times to Campton Hills, Lily Lake, Virgil, Wasco, The Windings and the northern portion of the district.


Photos: Training day

The grand opening ceremony for the Kane County Regional Training Center in St. Charles was held Sept. 25. Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez, County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen and retired lieutenant Ronald Grommas welcomed guests and led them on a tour of the new state-of-the-art facility. Undersheriff Pat Gengler (right) explains how the firearm training simulators are used.

Hultgren votes to counter Islamic State group with military training

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) recently supported H. J. Res. 124, a continuing resolution to fund the government at its current levels for three months, which includes an amendment to provide assistance, including training, equipment, supplies, and sustainment, to appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition as they struggle against the Islamic State and the Levant (ISIL) expansion.

“ISIL continues to grow in numbers and ferocity, and the Iraqi and Syrian peoples and religious minorities are threatened by its bloody rampage,” Hultgren said. “We need our allies to come together to deal with the threat. Until then, our Commander-in-Chief and our generals have developed this plan as the best course of action without involving our ground troops in another conflict overseas, and I support their decision.

Hultgren said the hope is that ISIL will be stopped in its tracks, and that conditions in Syria will promote an end to the conflict.

“I still have concerns about the risks associated with arming rebel groups, but to do nothing allows ISIL to become further entrenched, expand its control and continue its atrocities,” Hultgren said. “We must be vigilant to ensure these weapons are not turned against us in the future.”

According to Hultgren, extending government funding at current levels, with no net increase in spending, opens up the opportunity for real deliberations about the need to reverse the current trend of spending more than we take in.

“Among other provisions, the continuing resolution maintains the ban on taxing internet access, permits agency transfer of funds to carry out the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, provides an additional $59M to help reduce the veterans disability claims backlog and maintains our border security staffing levels,” Hultgren said.


Photos: Cop’s best friend

The Spirit of Blue Foundation and the Planet Dog Foundation donated $10,000 to the Kane County Sheriff’s Office Monday. The funds will be used to replace the soon-to-be-retired K9 Gino, who was rewarded with his favorite tug toy after sniffing out the planted handgun outside the Sheriff’s Office. Gino is a male German Shepherd who is a dual-purpose patrol K9, certified in explosive detection, tracking suspects and lost people, building searches, evidence recovery, apprehensions and handler protection.

Perez seeking nominations for 2014 Citizen of the Year award

KANE COUNTY—Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez is currently seeking nominations for the 2014 Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year award.

Sheriff Perez encourages members of the community to recognize those among them who demonstrate the spirit of selfless giving. Anyone wishing to nominate someone should send their nominations via email to or by mail to Kane County Sheriff’s Office 37W755 IL Rt 38 Suite A St. Charles IL 60175. Nominations will be accepted until Oct. 10. The award will be presented in November.

A listing of past award recipients and a history of the award can be found at

Perez created the Citizen of the Year award in 2007 to honor Ebey, who was murdered in his Aurora Township home. Roscoe was a selfless member of the community and a military veteran. It is through the award that Sheriff Perez and the Ebey family can keep his memory alive by recognizing other selfless citizens who are always there to help their “neighbors.”


In the company of family, friends

Community rallies around Hughes
SUGAR GROVE—Everyone’s life ends at some point, but hearing a doctor say it is hard to handle, said Beverly Holmes Hughes, Sugar Grove’s former library director.

Hughes has been diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme—an aggressive brain tumor with a dire prognosis. It’s especially hard for Hughes to handle because she is the sole support for seven people: her husband, Chuck, who has congestive heart failure; her sister, Janet, who has diabetes; and several special-needs children the three have adopted and co-parented—four of whom are still minors living at home.

That’s why several of Hughes’ friends—and after more than two decades of service to Sugar Grove, she has a lot of them—have banded together to host a fundraiser for her and her family, called “Beverly’s Battle Against Brain Cancer.”

“She is just a huge part of this community, and to have her be stricken with this terrible kind of cancer all of a sudden has really hit a lot of us very hard,” said Louise Coffman, Sugar Grove Library Board Treasurer. “She really has been the person in her family who has supported everybody all these years. She and her sister co-parented dozens of foster kids, and she supports her sister and her adopted special-needs kids. These people are giving back to society in manifold ways, and it just seems right that we would help her.”

Organizers have set up an account at Castle Bank at 36 E. Galena Blvd. in Sugar Grove, and they are asking area families to drop off checks made out to the Beverly Holmes Hughes Fund. Donations can also be dropped off at a number of locations throughout Sugar Grove.

“It’s an ongoing fundraiser, so donations don’t have to be one large amount at one time. If someone can do $10 a week, that would be wonderful,” said Pat Graceffa, a Sugar Grove Library trustee and longtime friend of Hughes.

“Beverly would always be the first one there to help them if they were in need,” she said. “She worked in our community for 19 years, and she was involved in everything—the library, the Corn Boil, the Chamber of Commerce, the Farmer’s Market. She did all of those things so that people would know that the library was the living room of the community—someplace where you could come (visit); someplace that would bring the community together.”

Hughes’ work in the community has been so extensive that she was named Sugar Grove’s Citizen of the Year in 2010, even though she lives in North Aurora.

Hughes discovered she had a brain tumor following a spring break trip last May, when she started having trouble with her right leg and fell.

When she wound up in the emergency room, doctors told her that her leg was not the problem and that she had a Stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive cancer that sends tentacles throughout the brain. Though she’s had brain surgery to remove the bulk of the tumor, it’s impossible to remove it all without removing parts of Hughes’ brain.

“With brain surgery, the margin of safety is that they have to leave a little of it,” Hughes said.

Chemotherapy and radiation can hold the cancer cells in check for awhile, but not forever. Glioblastoma patients have a median survival time of 14.6 months, a statistic that is difficult for Hughes to face.

“It’s stopped us in our tracks and made us think about a bitter reality that it’s not easy to think about,” Hughes said. “There are times I’ve said to the kids that everybody comes through it in a different way. And they say, ‘But you’re going to die.’ And I say, ‘Yes, but there’s so much we can do in the meantime.’”

It doesn’t surprise Hughes’ friends that she would try to stay positive even about cancer. Graceffa said that Hughes is truly selfless.

“Her whole life has never been about her,” Graceffa said. “She’s truly a remarkable person. I’ve just never met anyone like her in my whole life.”

Hughes and her sister, Janet Holmes, lived together when they were young and began taking in dozens of foster children in their home in North Aurora.

“They always took children who were the least adoptable,” Graceffa said. “Children born to moms addicted to cocaine, children who couldn’t hear—and so (Beverly and Janet) needed to learn sign language—and children who had physical or mental challenges.”

Some of those children eventually returned to their biological families, but Holmes adopted seven of the foster children, and “Aunt Beverly” lived with them and helped raise them. When Hughes married, her husband Chuck agreed to join the family and help raise those children, as well. Though three of the children are now grown and living independently, four teenagers remain at home.

Since Hughes is the only one in the family with a job that provides health insurance, she must continue working, even though the tumor is affecting her ability to walk and the chemo has sapped her strength, Coffman said. Hughes is working as the director of library services for DeVry University in Addison, Ill., and though the library has allowed her to do some of that work from home, she must still go in regularly.

“She’s working 30 hours a week now in order to maintain her health insurance and benefits, and I can’t imagine anything harder than basically having a terminal illness where you have to slog through a regular workweek and not have the luxury of being ill (and just resting and recovering),” Coffman said.

The goal of the fundraiser, Coffman said, is to take some of the burden off of Hughes. Though raising money to help pay Hughes’ mounting medical bills and household bills is the main goal, organizers are also seeking other kinds of donations, including gas cards to help pay for frequent trips to the hospital and to visit Ed, the family’s 14-year-old son who lives at a school for the deaf on weekdays, and Lydia, an older daughter who lives independently.

Grocery cards and easy meals would also be helpful, Coffman said, since it is a large family, and back-to-school supplies and clothes for the four children—twins Hannah and Elizabeth, age 13; Ed; and George, age 17—would be welcome. Since Hughes’ immune system has been compromised by the chemotherapy, donations of paper towels, liquid soap, Lysol wipes, trash bags and hand sanitizer are also being accepted.

Hughes’ tumor is affecting her ability to walk and drive, and so volunteers willing to transport her to and from her job in Addison are also needed. Chuck had heart surgery earlier this week and is currently not well enough to drive her.

Gifts of fun family activities are also welcome, as Hughes is trying to spend quality time with the children while she can.

“We want the kids to have as normal and carefree a childhood as possible,” Hughes said.”

Sugar Grove trustee Mari Johnson, who is also sponsoring the fundraiser, is hoping that the citizens of Sugar Grove—all the families who brought their children into library storytime over the years; all the students who needed research assistance; all the adults who just wanted a good book—will donate to help Hughes in her hour of need.

The two met when Johnson brought her son, who was then 2 years old, into the library for storytime. Her son is now 26, and Hughes and Johnson have been friends for more than two decades.

“When I think of how many families brought their children for storytime over those 20 years, if each one of those families donated just a small amount, it could make such a difference in her life,” Johnson said. “I think it’s just really important that people are aware. Some of the reasons that we’re here and we do these sorts of things is that we’re still a small town, and people care about each other. One way to show that you care is to donate, even if it’s just as little as $1.”

There won’t be any fancy fundraising events for Hughes, either. Instead of holding a $40 dinner where $30 of that goes to pay for the food, venue and entertainment, the community is instead planning a simpler fundraiser where every single dollar donated goes straight to help Hughes.

Coffman, who helps plan the Corn Boil and a number of other community events, said they thought something simple might be best.

“It was a matter of, ‘Is the community kind of tapped out in terms of partying?’ Okay, you don’t have to stand in a buffet line or buy raffle tickets. Every dollar you give goes straight to that family,” Coffman said.

Though they’ve been publicizing the fundraiser with flyers, organizers haven’t had the response they hope for yet.

“We’ve had some response so far, but not as much as I would have hoped,” Coffman said. “We’d like to get more. We have a Facebook page with 400 followers. If 400 people actually sent in $10, that would be awesome and that would really, really help. That kind of bulk contribution—you can’t really have 400 people at a banquet hall and get that kind of money to go to the person in need.”

Coffman said that she understands times are tough for many families, but that most people can afford to send something.

“We’re asking for a little bit of help from a lot of people,” she said. “I know that Beverly is loved by this community from the outpouring of support she got from the library. I know we can do this. If a lot of us gave even a little, that would be the best outcome.”

The effort has to be ongoing, Coffman emphasized.

“The problem with this kind of cancer, and I am not sure that people are really aware of it, but this is not a curable disease. Beverly will be receiving chemo treatments for the rest of her life, until the chemo doesn’t work anymore. This has to be an ongoing effort, because she’s going to need our help. Someone needs to make sure people understand this,” Coffman said.

Monetary donations can be made to
the Beverly Holmes Hughes Fund
at any Castle Bank, or mailed to the Sugar Grove location,
36 E. Galena Blvd.,
Sugar Grove, IL 60554.

Donations of money, gas cards, grocery cards, disinfecting supplies, clothes, school supplies and other items can be dropped off at the following locations:

Downtown Sugar Grove
• 201 Calkins Dr., Sugar Grove

• Sugar Grove Chamber of
Commerce Office, Sugar Grove
Community House on Main
Street, Tuesdays and Thursdays,
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Advanced Realty Consultants,
91 Sugar Lane, Unit 2, weekdays,
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Windsor Point subdivision
• 287 E. Park Ave., Sugar Grove

Dugan Woods subdivision
• 1916 Annettes Circle,
Sugar Grove

Lakes of Bliss Woods subdivision
• 923 Spruce St., Sugar Grove

Walnut Woods subdivision
• Debbie DeBoer,
865 Boyce Road, Sugar Grove

Hannaford Farm subdivision
• Rachel Rockwell,
1731 Hannaford Drive,
Sugar Grove

Garbage truck, vehicle collide in Big Rock

BIG ROCK—Kane County Sheriff’s Deputies on Sept. 12 were dispatched to Route 30, west of Dugan Road, in Big Rock on a report of a traffic crash with injuries involving a garbage truck and a passenger vehicle.

An initial investigation indicates that a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander was traveling east on Route 30 when it, for an unknown reason, began to enter the westbound lane of traffic. A Waste Management garbage truck was traveling west on Route 30, and in an attempt to avoid a head-on collision with the Chevrolet, he entered the eastbound lane of traffic. The Chevy and garbage truck then collided in the eastbound lane of traffic.

The driver and sole occupant of the Chevrolet, Brandy Roberts, 44, of the 300 block of Cardinal Lane, Somonauk, was flown to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., with serious injuries. The driver and sole occupant of the garbage truck, Milton Mishler 59, of the 100 block of East Meadow Drive, Cortland, was transported to Mercy Center Hospital in Aurora with minor injuries.

The crash remains under investigation by Sheriff’s Detectives and members of the Kane County Accident Reconstruction Team. No tickets have been issued. The stretch of Route 30 between Dugan Road and Dauberman Road was closed for approximately three hours while the crash was investigated.


Saying goodbye to Conley Farm

For over 15 years, the Conley family, Conley Funeral Home and Conley Outreach Community Services have partnered to purchase, develop and maintain the Conley Farm in Kaneville. The farm has seen countless visitors to its Children’s Prayer Garden, grief events, weddings and family celebrations. It has been a place of healing, hope and celebration.

As the Kaneland community transitions from summer to fall, the Conley Farm is also in transition, as Conley finds it has become necessary to sell the property.

This was an extremely difficult, but necessary business decision, and one that was not made lightly. The farm is privately owned by the Conley family, who has graciously given Conley Outreach a license agreement to use the property at no cost since its purchase. While the sale of the farm may impact some of Conley’s grief events, Conley Outreach’s support groups and all of its community-based programs and the West Towns offices will not be affected.

Conley Outreach will invite the public to one last event at the Conley Farm—a “Farewell to the Farm”—on Sunday, Sept. 28, from 3 to 6 p.m. If you have been one of Conley Farm’s dedicated volunteers, have attended an event or wedding here, or have always meant to visit, Conley would love to see you that day. Come walk the gardens and grounds, enjoy a bonfire, make s’mores and spend a little time on the bridge to give thanks for all the ways this farm has blessed the local community.

For more information about the Farm Farewell or Conley Outreach’s programs, call (630) 365-2880.

Tennessee-based company acquires Hintzsche Fertilizer

TROXEL—Hintzsche Fertilizer Inc., a second-generation, family-owned business established in 1962, has reached an agreement to sell its agronomy business, including subsidiaries Burroughs Ag Services and Walter Seed and Fertilizer, to Helena Chemical Company, based in Collierville, Tenn.

A press release from Hintzsche states: “After many thoughtful discussions by the ownership regarding how to perpetuate the business, it was decided a sale of the business was in the best interest of all stakeholders.”

Company president and CEO David Hintzsche declined to comment further.

In a Sept. 3 letter to customers, Hintzsche wrote, “We ultimately made the decision to go with Helena because they are a successful, leading-edge and stable company with experience in ag retail on a national scale. They can bring resources to our business that will help our team to continue to provide a high level of service and innovation to your operation. Helena has been a long-term supplier to our organization, so we know many of their people and how they do business. Our agronomy management team will continue to lead the business and Helena has made a commitment to bring the entire employee team onboard. You will be working with the same sales and service team that has served you well in the past.”

Hintzsche’s Illinois operations include Troxel, DeKalb, Kirkland, Scarboro, Minooka, Peru, Toluca, Dana, Lostant, Minonk, Sparland, Varna, Washburn, Wyoming, Grand Ridge, Sheridan and Amboy.

Along with the letter from Hintzsche, customers received a letter from Helena’s Midwest Division Manager John McKinney. He reiterated that employees will be retained, allowing customers to work with professionals they know and trust. He added, “We sincerely believe the people inside the building are more important than the sign on the door.”

Randy Parman, vice president of Helena’s northern business unit, based in West Des Moines, Iowa, said the parties are working toward an October deal-closing date.


Lauzen addresses Elburn Chamber

Photo: Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen (right) and Elburn
Village President Dave Anderson share a laugh prior to Lauzen’s State of the
County address on Sept. 4. Photo by Susan O’Neill

Kane County Chairman issues State of the County address
ELBURN—Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen took an opportunity at the Sept. 4 Elburn Chamber of Commerce meeting to tell chamber members about his accomplishments during his first two years as chairman.

Lauzen, who had been the 25th district state senator before his successful run for the board chairmanship, began his state of the county address by saying that his position with the county is “so much better” than his tenure as an Illinois state senator.

“You can actually do something here,” he said. “And if there’s something wrong, it’s not somebody else’s fault. If there’s something wrong, it’s my fault and I need to fix it.”

Lauzen began his list of accomplishments for his first two years by pointing out that Kane County’s property tax levy has been frozen since 2011, and although this has been a tough year, he hopes to continue that practice. Acknowledging that people would prefer to have their taxes go down, he said his goal for the county is to “just don’t make it worse.”

He said that the county recently created Kane County Connects, an online social media initiative that is meant to inform people within the county about issues and events of interest to them. Lauzen said that former newspaper reporter and editor Rick Nagel has taken this initiative from an audience of zero six months ago to a reach of 13,200. He encouraged the audience members to make use of it to get the word out about various events.

Also on the list of accomplishments was the groundbreaking this year for a new shooting range for the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, which Lauzen said was an important tool for deputies to keep up their skills.

“If there’s a problem, you want them to shoot straight, and to do that, you’ve got to practice,” he said.

Lauzen said that other law enforcement departments in the area are welcome to use the range, as well.

He also mentioned the Longmeadow Parkway, a $120 million transportation project in the north of the county, and said that the county was able to bring $45 million of state money here to help pay for the project.

Lauzen had some ideas for pension reform at the state level, including capping the abuses, raising the retirement age from 55 to 62 years, and scaling back the cost of living increases (COLA), which are currently at a rate of 3 percent every year.

However, he said that fixing the problem takes political will, and it takes at least a two-party system. He encouraged the business leaders in the audience to get out and vote in November, as well as using their influence to get others to do the same.

“We’re smart enough to understand that it’s time for a change,” he said. “Spread your influence; get your neighbors out to vote.”


Photos: Saturdays of thunder

The eighth annual Car and Motorcycle Show was presented by Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez, Kendall County Sheriff Richard Randall and Dekalb County Sheriff Roger Scott on Saturday at The Martin family farm in Elburn. Proceeds from the event went to the Make a Wish Foundation. Jim and Tori Yurachek (right) of Elburn stop to take a look at Sheriff Perez’s Ford Torino. The car lineup during the show (below).
Photos by Lynn Logan

Oberweis will seek override of governor’s speed-limit veto

SPRINGFIELD—State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) says he will seek an override this fall of a gubernatorial veto of legislation he sponsored to raise the speed limit on Illinois toll highways to 70 miles-per-hour.

Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed Oberweis’ Senate Bill 2015 on Aug. 26, citing evidence that tollway drivers already exceed the speed limit in many cases, which can lead to serious accidents.

“The governor says he vetoed my legislation because data shows that drivers on the tollways are already exceeding the speed limits, which is the same argument opponents used for our original law that now allows the 70 mph limit on other Illinois highways,” Oberweis said. “It is an argument we have already addressed in the original law. Those who exceed the 70 mph limit now face tougher penalties.”

Oberweis said the original law, which took effect Jan. 1, provides public safety enhancements in the form of a lowered threshold upon which the penalty for speeding is increased from a petty offense to a misdemeanor. Speeding in excess of 26 miles per hour but less than 35 mph (currently 31-40 mph) will be a Class B misdemeanor. Speeding in excess of 35 mph (currently 40 mph) will be a Class A misdemeanor.

Senate Bill 2015 was passed by a 111-4 vote of the House of Representatives on May 29 and by a 48-6 vote of the Senate on May 21.

“One of the Governor’s favorite catch-phrases is ‘Let the will of the people be the law of the land,’ yet when he disagrees with the will of the people, he vetoes popular legislation. Senate Bill 2015 was sponsored by 39 lawmakers from both political parties in both the Senate and the House, representing Chicago, suburban and downstate areas of Illinois,” Oberweis said. “It appears that most of lawmakers do not agree with Quinn, and I will be asking them to join me in the fall session to override the governor’s veto.”

Grace period registration extended through Election Day

KANE COUNTY—Kane County Clerk John A. Cunningham would like to inform Kane County residents that the grace period registration has been extended through Election Day. This extension of grace period registration applies only to the November 2014 General Election.

Illinois state law states that “During the 2014 general election, an unregistered qualified elector may register to vote, and a registered voter may submit a change of address form, in person at any permanent polling place for early voting established under Section 19A-10 through election day.”

The state law also states that registered, grace-period voters wishing to vote must do so by grace period voting. Grace period registration will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at the Kane County Clerk’s Office. Grace period registration will be extended until the polls close on Tuesday, Nov. 4, for the General Election only. Two forms of current identification are required. Voters must vote after their voter registration is processed.

The Kane County Clerk’s Office is located in Building B at the Kane County Government Center, 719 S. Batavia Ave. (Route 31), Geneva.

To register, a person must be a United States citizen, 18 years old on or before the date of the General Election, a resident of the precinct for 30 days prior to the election, and provide two forms of identification, one of which shows their current name and address.

Kane County residents may check their registration online by going to—click on the “Are you registered?” link and follow the directions on the page.

For additional information call the Elections Office at (630) 232-5990.


Plane makes emergency landing at Aurora Airport

SUGAR GROVE—An airplane traveling from Michigan on Aug. 13 was forced to make an emergency landing at Aurora Municipal Airport, 43W636 Route 30 in Sugar Grove. The plane’s landing gear had malfunctioned and would not deploy.

The plane was originally headed to a residential estate in Naperville, Ill. according to Sugar Grove Police Chief Pat Rollins.

“The pilot did a remarkable job landing the plane,” Rollins said. “Everyone came away unscathed, and there was no damage done to the plane or airport.”

Photos submitted by Walt Zimmer

Sugar Grove approves Route 47 name change

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday approved changing the name of the stretch of Route 47 that runs through Sugar Grove to “Sugar Grove Parkway.”

Following discussions at previous meetings, the Village Board stated that it would be in the best interest of the village to change the name of Route 47 in Sugar Grove for reasons such as marketing purposes and “bringing a more familiar name for Sugar Grove.”

The name change was a suggestion from the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) earlier in the year. The cost of the name change will be very low, according to Development Director Walter Magdziarz.

“We haven’t received any emails or phone calls about the name change since it was in the paper,” Village President Sean Michels said. “I think that’s a good sign.”

Residents that currently have a Route 47 address in Sugar Grove will have the option to change their address to include the Sugar Grove Parkway title. To do so, residents will need to notify the Sugar Grove Post Office and indicate their address title preference.

Elburn Days 2014 Raffle winners

ELBURN—The following people were winners in the Elburn Days 2014 Raffle: Andrew Ranney of St. Charles (two Chicago Blackhawks jerseys, courtesy of Maple Park Police Department—lllinois Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics); Rick Mueller of Elburn ($50 certificate courtesy of Mediacom Communications Corporation); Katie Schutzenoefer of Elburn (“Thirty One” bag, courtesy of Kaneland Special Needs PTA); Sandy Mennella of Elburn (Origami Owl); Kate Powell of Elburn ($50 U.S. Borne Books); John Jain of Elburn (440 RL radar detector, courtesy of HorsePower Therapeutic Riding); Liz Gortowski (60-minute horseback riding lesson, courtesy of Promise Equine Center); Donna Dietz (60-minute massage, courtesy of Higher Energy Massage Therapy); Jacquie Marquardt of Elburn ($50 shopping spree, courtesy of Tupperware—Mallory Rosenwinkel); and Jim Geraghty of West Chicago, Ill. (reverse osmosis water purification system, courtesy of Ecowater System).

Cheyenne Santschi of Elburn won the Elburn Lions Club 50/50, with a total pot of $8,783.

Bill Wimmer of Elburn won the Elburn Lions Club drawing for a Chevy Car/Truck or $30,000. The Lions would like to thank Bob Jass Chevrolet, Elburn.

Raulene Kuebelbeck of Elburn won $2,104.

Jenna Zimmerman of Cortland and Joey Esposito of Elburn won the Guess the Candy Jar, sponsored by Elson Financial Services.

Lee Newtson of Sycamore won $1,000, courtesy of American Legion Daniel Simpson Post 630. B. Funderburke won $500; John T. Smith of Elburn won $250; Jeff O’Connell of Hinckley won $150; Harry Hartman won $100.
Winners of the Harley-Davidson 2014 Street Slider and other prizes will be announced Friday, Oct. 17. The winner of a Harley-Davidson 2014 Switchback and other prizes (courtesy of DuKane Chapter A.B.A.T.E of Illinois) will be announced at the Springfield Mile Races on Sunday, Aug. 31.
Winners of various prizes in the Sycamore Lions Pumpkin Fest Raffle will be drawn on Sunday, Oct. 26.